Friday, September 14, 2007

Oh, Angst!

Pass the cheese, y’all, I’m having me a real good whine. (Angst humor. It’s like band humor, only lamer.)

I have been cleaning hour after hour every single day this week. Go ahead. Ask me what I did for six hours Tuesday? Cleaned the house. And Wednesday? Ditto. And today? Well, actually, today I only spent three hours cleaning because I ran a bunch of errands with Captain Adventure and Boo Bug today. BUT YOU GET THE IDEA.

Does my house reflect this matronly effort?

Oh, hell no.

It looks as though a herd of elephants charged through it. Right after they had had a real good wallow in the waterhole, followed by a nice sand bath.

I am so tired of being embarrassed by my house it is looming on ludicrous. Seriously, the lady from California Closets unexpectedly wanted to do some measurements in here today (I thought I was just signing over the souls of my first two children in exchange for the closet and ‘library’ thing in the bedroom), making sure she had everything right for the (ahem) solution to the mess problem, or at least that is the fantasy, and I was all like, “Oh, sorry about the mess, heh heh, it’s not usually THIS bad {liar liar pants on fire} oh let me just get that um I’ll just put this erm heh heh yeah, let me just get that MOUNTAIN O’CRAP shoved over here so you can get to the damned WALL…”

So. Embarrassed.

And then she said, “Do you want me to take measurements for that student center, so I can draft it up and…” and I shrieked out, “NO! NO! Heh heh, no, that’s OK, I think we’re good for now…let’s just take this one big payment at a time, huh?”

But it wasn’t that I feared another quote. It was the mess down the hall. I wanted to shield her eyes from the hideous mess, because she is an innocent young thing with many years of neatly organized living ahead of her.

Some things are just not appropriate for one of her tender years.

I wish I could just not give a damn. Or actually go the rest of the way crazy and let it all pile up, maybe start taking in random cats and sit in my fur-encrusted rocking chair working on baby sweaters until my (grown) children call in Filth Busters to dig me out.

So I already had a bit of angst going for me this afternoon about how I couldn’t get my house cleaned up and maybe, just maybe, I should just give up. Because seriously? This is getting really, really, REALLY old. Especially since I seem to be cleaning the same areas over and over and over and over and over…

About then, Captain Adventure shaved about ten years off my life by running – RUNNING! – into the kitchen with a pair of scissors waggling from his mouth.

The child was running with the points of scissors shoved into his mouth, people. I mean, really! “Don’t run with scissors” should be enough right there. “Don’t run with scissors IN YOUR MOUTH” is a warning that should be genetically unnecessary. Seriously. OK, try this. Take a pair of scissors, and put the point of them into your mouth. SEE? Do you SEE how uncomfortable that makes you feel?! This is because, at the DNA level, your body knows that this is an extremely stupid thing to do!!

But my son? RUNS, with scissors in his mouth.

My heart stopped. I swear, it did. Once I finished the initial shriek-sputter-n-grab routine, I naturally had some questions! It took a great deal of back and forth to discover that Danger Mouse had found the scissors among the piles of “stuff” on the built-in upstairs, which I thought it was all linens, outgrown jackets and photo albums – but apparently, there are also tools and perhaps bombs in there. Who knows?!

When my heart decided to start pumping again (about an hour later, when everybody was in bed), I just sat here with a glass of wine and stared at my computer screen for a while.

Ya know…this place is not a home. It is an asylum. It is where the crazy-people are kept. I am merely one of the inmates.

Perhaps the most dangerous of them, at that.

I feel pulled in opposite directions, all the time. On the one hand, well, when I dream of hitting the open roads – I want a Volkswagon Westy – you know, the pop-top camper? Not a 300’ RV with satellite and so forth. A Westy, with a porta-potty and a solar shower. No TV, no onboard navigation system, no fancy “climate control system” or leveling jacks. Just your basic no-frills camping, thanks all the same. Keep it simple, keep it easy.

But on the other hand, I do, in fact, have ‘seasonal’ linens. I even have special Christmas dishes. And also Autumn dishes, bought to pad out the “real” dishes during the Thanksgiving season, and THEN I bought a huge set of (cheap but sturdy) white things to pad out both sets because This One Time I had thirty people coming for Thanksgiving…

You see? You see how…completely psycho this is?!

On the one hand, I value simplicity and the ‘less is more’ attitude. On the other, I have definitely caught the Affluenza virus. Oh, I may not have the raging, out-of-control case of it…but I’ve got the early sniffles.

And worse, I have the Keepsies. You know, where you’ve got something you don’t want or need, but you can’t get rid of it? Usually for some stupid reason?

Like, for perfect example, I have this huge, profoundly ugly quilt (currently part of the “stuff” piled up on top of the built-in). I have never used it for any purpose. It was made by a friend’s aunt. Said friend presented it to me, saying, “Oh, my aunt made me another one of these damned things – I thought you could give it a good home.”

I have never used it. No guest has ever used it. But do I give it to Goodwill? No! Because somebody’s auntie made it!!


Ach well. What-ya-gonna-do? Except get to bed, because tomorrow? There will be more cleaning. More organizing. More attempting to declutter. More picking up the same damned trash from the same damned surfaces. And probably my children will give me heart failure again, and it is entirely likely that I will find myself, though armed with determination not to, putting things I don’t need or even want back into the cupboards because some friend’s distant relation gave it to them and therefore it has some kind of sentimental thing going…even though this friend has never again mentioned the ugly old thing in the seven years it has lurked in my cupboard…


Rabbitch said...

How 'bout you mail me the quilt and I'll throw the bastard out? And in return I'll mail you the penguin ice-cream scoop that my mother forced on me today (after I refused to take it, she GAVE it to my daughter to force me to keep it. I'm going to break it.) I have a buncha crystal that someone else needs to throw out, too.

Sometimes when I read your blog I think you're me. And then I remember I only have one child.

Unless there's another couple under the clutter over there somewhere ...

Helen said...

Again with the living my life?
This week, I'm gathering some of those things and hauling them off to the local Women's Shelter. THEY will be thrilled to have that computer that we retired so long ago it's scary. and the sheets we never use? they'll love them.
And if they don't, they're having a yard sale soon (they said so).
Now tell me why it took me so long to just call them?
But ... I still have a bunch of crystal that I volunteered to keep, that is never used. It just looks pretty behind that glass door in the hutch in the dining room. The door you can't open b/c of the stuff on the ledge... yeah...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Get a friend with ruthless housecleaning genes to come over and go through stuff with you. When you whimper, she can be stern and rational and send you off to knit, whilst she finds order amidst the chaos. Or I could send my sister. She helped me clean out my house when we were getting ready to go to Germany last year, and I dubbed her the "housecleaning Nazi". NOTHING escapes her gimlet eye. And the funny thing? The only thing we got rid of that I really regret is my collection of coffee mugs. Go figure. But seriously, you can do this!!! A little bit at a time goes a long way.

Kris said...

Hmmm - I am sensing a trend in the comments. We all seem to have clutter issues.

The fugly quilt? Don't take it to Goodwill. There are orgainizations out there that help women set up house after they escape abusive relationships etc. For someone who has nothing, it could be a great thing.

patrice said...

I'm pushing the clutter aside on my computer desk to get to the keyboard so I can come out of lurking to say ... I SO understand, and I am SO with you. I just got another file cabinet to try to contain all the paper sitting in piles everywhere in my house, so that I can see the clutter under the paper to clean it!
And thank heavens Captain Adventure is okay - sounds like he's a devilishly smart one (faking out the speech therapist for instance) and you're going to have some fun times in the months and years to come. Of course, maybe your reaction to the scissors can count for your aerobic activity for the day since it certainly got your heart racing, right?

Science PhD Mom said...

I cannot have an uncluttered house. I give up. I allow clutter in designated areas and do my best to contain it, but sometimes a massive clutter dig-out is called for. I feel for you. It never ends, at least not until they move out! However I fear by then the clutter will be so entrenched I will have to sell my house to be forced to part with it.

Anonymous said...

You are so living my life that it's freaky, right down to the 3 daughters/1 son, clutter issues, knitting amidst ongoing house upgrades.
One thought on the quilt guilt - I saw the Fly Lady at a thing a few weeks ago and she said something that struck a chord with me. I'll try to paraphrase, but it went something like "when we hang onto clutter and things we don't need or use, we are denying blessings to other people who need those things." I'm sure she said it better, but now I'm determined to de-clutter at least one room a week until all the excess stuff has moved on to someone who needs it. Including those dishes my MIL gave me. I'm sure there's someone out there that'll love them.

Amy Lane said...

hee hee hee... no, seriously...stop stealing my blog-fodder. (No Cave Troll with *shriek* misplaced scissors, thank god, but the rest of it? My life... My husband's uncle wants to stop by on Sunday...Mate and I are like, in tandem, "WE'LL MEET YOU!" because our house? frickin' disaster. Nothing we can do in the next three days is gonna fix that.)

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. It is also my pain.

Anonymous said...

Give yourself permission to ditch the quilt. Then ditch it !
I give you permission !
Failing that, ask the friend if she minds you ditching it. She'll look at you as if you are completely insane and say "What quilt?".
Just get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with rabbitch, sometimes I think you are me.
The thing about getting rid of things other people give you is that they soon figure out not to give you stuff.